‘Bama’s Richardson claims Doak Walker Award
DALLAS — Trent Richardson can’t wait to get home with his new Doak Walker Award … so his daughters can destroy it.
“My little girls know Daddy’s getting another award and they’re happy,” said Richardson, father to Taliyah, 5, and Elevera, 3. “They can’t wait to try to tear my trophy up when I get back to the house.”
Richardson, the standout running back from Alabama, was presented the trophy Friday night during the Doak Walker Award Banquet in Dallas.
Although the trophy, presented to the nation’s top running back each year, is a bronze sculpture of its namesake, Richardson’s daughters might be able to make a few dents in it. After all, their father is known to bench press 475 pounds — and that’s not even his max. His Alabama coaches forbade him from going any higher.
It was that kind of strength and power that set the 5-11, 224-pound Richardson apart. He rushed for 1,679 yards and 21 touchdowns last season, getting more than half of his yardage after contact.
Richardson vowed that the NFL team that drafts him in April is going to see that power on a daily basis.
“I want to be one of those type guys that you say, ‘This guy’s not a rookie. He’s been here for a while,'” Richardson said.
Richardson is currently training for the NFL scouting combine in Arizona with a number of top draft prospects, including former Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III. Richardson finished third in the Heisman voting behind Griffin and former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.
Richardson, who seemed genuinely proud to be the first Alabama back to win the Doak Walker, said there’s no jealousy of Griffin in regards to the Heisman.
“Like I said, I think we all deserved it,” Richardson said. “I’m happy he did get it. He deserved every bit of it.”
Richardson never displayed any jealousy as a freshman playing behind Mark Ingram, who did win the Heisman. But then, Ingram wasn’t the first great running back Richardson has had to follow.
Richardson played at Escambia High in Pensacola, Fla., the alma mater of Emmitt Smith.
“Just walking in the same footsteps as him, it’s an honor,” Richardson said. “At the same time, it’s a lot of pressure, coming from the same school, same coach and especially the same background. It’s a lot to live up to when somebody’s comparing you to Emmitt Smith.”
Richardson had met Smith several times before, but it was still a highlight for him to run into the former Dallas Cowboys great during his visit to pick up the Doak Walker Award.
“I just kind of figured him being from Pensacola, he would kind of pop up and try to surprise me,” Richardson said, smiling. “When we talk he just tells me how great I’ve done and just keep up the success and stay humble. Don’t let nothing change you.”
For Richardson to follow Smith’s footsteps in the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys will likely have to trade up from the 14th overall pick to get him. That’s unlikely since the Cowboys already have Felix Jones, an established veteran, and DeMarco Murray entering his second year.
Some projections have Richardson going in the top five picks, but he said it makes no difference to him who drafts him.
“I really don’t care,” Richardson said. “I just want to play football and live my dream and finally a play a down in the NFL. It’s what I’ve been working for my whole life. Whoever gets me, I’m going to bring all the effort and the pride and commitment that I can, like I did for Alabama.”
And just as Richardson has no say in who drafts him, he probably won’t have a say in whether his daughters get to play with his new trophy.
“I don’t think I’m going to let them, but no telling what they’re going to do when I’m not there,” Richardson chuckled. “I have to do something with it to try to keep them away from it. But I can’t wait to get home and let them see what success and hard work have done for me.
“It’s been a long time coming for me, and this trophy right here means a lot to us as a family.”
Follow Keith Whitmire on Twitter: @Keith_Whitmire